[QODLink]
Wildlife Warzone

Episode 1: New recruits

The trainee rangers begin a course that will push them to the limits and equip them with the skills to take on poachers.

Last Modified: 08 Oct 2013 13:54
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Wildlife poaching is big business and rhino horn worth more than gold. The only thing standing between South Africa's animals and possible extinction is a new breed of anti-poaching rangers. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, but they have one thing in common - they are prepared to lay their lives on the line for Africa's wildlife.

Wildlife poaching is big business. It is worth more than $17bn a year and growing. In Vietnam, rhino horn is thought to be a cure for cancer and is currently worth more than gold.

I never thought I would see whites, blacks and coloureds come together like this … as a family, to help each other complete the training.

Lionel Poney, a wildlife reserve gate guard 

Wildlife Warzone follows a new batch of trainee rangers as they are pushed to their limits in training; not all of them will make it. Those that do, once trained, will head out into the field to begin the fight back against the poachers.

They are black, white, coloured and come from a wide range of backgrounds, but they have one thing in common - they are prepared to lay their lives on the line for Africa's wildlife.

The ranger training course is brutally tough from the start. Vince Barkas, the head of the course, explains: "We cannot have people here that are soft. We cannot have people that will crack under pressure. The reality of this situation is that you are going to be given a semi-automatic weapon when you finish this training. You will have 100th of a second to decide whether you can pull the trigger or not."

The rangers must be as fit as the heavily armed poachers they will up against. But by the end of day one, some recruits are already having fitness problems. They will not all make it through.

They have, however, learned their first important lesson: survival in the bush is about being able to rely 100 percent on your teammates; it is about becoming 'one team, one family'.


382

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.
join our mailing list